A new book, Methodological Reflections on Researching Communication and Social Change, edited by Örecomm colleagues Norbert Wildermuth and Teke Ngomba features new chapters by ComDev researchers, alumni of the program and many collaborators from Malmö and Roskilde University! The book expands the growing Palgrave Studies in Communication for Social Change series.
This book identifies the strengths and weaknesses of different methodological approaches to research in communication and social change. It examines the methodological opportunities and challenges occasioned by rapid technological affordances and society-wide transformations. This study provides grounded insights on these issues from a broad range of proficient academics and experienced practitioners.
Overall, the different contributions address four key themes: a critical evaluation of different ethnographic approaches in researching communication for/and social change; a critical appraisal of visual methodologies and theatre for development research; a methodological appraisal of different participatory approaches to researching social change; and a critical examination of underlying assumptions of knowledge production within the dominant strands of methodological approaches to researching social change.
For ComDev researcher Anders Hög-Hansen the book has important significance as it remembers the work of his Malmö University colleague, the late Lajos Varhegyi:
It all began in December 2009, Lajos came along documenting a seminar in Dar Es Salaam and that led to a film collaboration between University of Dar Es Salaam (Fine & Performing Arts) students, Malmö University film students as well as ComDev students. After many years, adding Sören Sönderstrup excellent thesis work to it, a book chapter on young Tanzanian and Swedish filmmakers’ short films on life in the outskirts of Dar Es Salaam is now published. Lajos is not with us anymore, the article is dedicated to him, the pioneer of the film project.
The book also includes chapters by ComDev researcher Oscar Hemer and former ComDev teachers Julia Velkova and Zeenath Hasan as well as MA program alumna Karen Marie Thulstrup.
City Symphony Malmö: the spatial politics of non-institutional memory
New article coauthored by ComDev’s Anders Høg Hansen and Erling Björgvinsson (Interaction Design, formerly Malmö University, now at Gothenburg) published in the Journal Media Practice, explores the function of media in the creation of non-institutional memory and discusses the complexities of participatory and spatially distributed filmmaking and the convergence of culture and mediated memory production in Erling Björgvinsson and Richard Topgaard’s 2009 documentary City Symphony Malmö.
The City symphony genre captures snatches of real-time footage, allowing filmmakers to make a statement on modern society in which time, space and movement are fundamental elements.
The article discusses where the relation between place and memory and the constitution of individual and collective identities converges to manifest in the production and mediation of living memory, revealing an interplay and a tension between seemingly private and public content and the role of networked media in the creation of plural aspects of collective remembrance.
From Social Movement to Ritualized Conference Spaces: The Evolution of Peace Research Professionalism in Germany is the title of ComDev’s Tobias Denskus‘ latest research article just published in the journal Peace & Change:
The article employs anthropological ritual theory and the concepts of symbolism and liminality to provide a theoretical framework for analyzing ethnographic insights into the academic peace research community in Germany. Using secondary sources for a broader historical outline, I analyze the evolution of peace research discourses in Germany from the beginnings as a new social movement to a contemporary professionalized policy space in which knowledge discourses are (re)produced. Academic conferences and the routines around presenting theoretical papers have become institutionalized by the ritual dynamics of a small group of organizers and venues, fostering “indoor rituals” that represent transformations of the activities of the “outdoor” peace movement that was active in postwar Germany for many decades.
In a blog post with further links, including to an un-gated version of his paper, he adds:
I think it is important to engage with community practices and changing forms of professionalism over time. This allows for important nuances beyond twitter-able claims to add simply more women or enhance diversity at conferences in other ways. These are important steps, but in this day and age of the ‘metricized’ neoliberal university we need to ask tougher questions about how to build and maintain social movements and inspiring communities inside and outside academia.